Reminds Me of Spring...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I was sorting through some pictures this morning, looking for something completely unrelated to blooming Nasturtiums, but somehow these just looked too good to resist. So here they are, making me think lovingly of Spring soon to come.

No, those are not this year's Nasturtiums.

Yes, we will plant more this year.

Only one more month to go (give or take a year) before garden-planting season! Yay!

And because I am already on a roll with posting unrelated pictures, here is a random look at our used-to-be-homeland:

Can't believe we spent NINE years there! God is amazingly good to us. I am reminded to be thankful for every day He gives us here in this other beautiful place (Vermont). The sun just came out, which makes it even nicer.

Also, I get to eat a German apple pancake for lunch. Yum!

When a Bad Night's Sleep is an Answer to Prayer

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I didn't intend to post today, especially not to post about our old and defunct central vacuum. But given that it factored rather large in the events of last night, and given that there was a rather huge answer to prayer, here it is.

For some reason it took me a while to get to sleep last night. Maybe it's because Papa is in California right now, and he's presenting at a church this morning, and he's sick, and we're missing him. So I was awake praying for him.

But I was also awake because I was thinking about house fires (I know, I know, not something you want to think about before bed, right? :), and I was trying to decide what valuables I would grab first, and how we would all escape in time. I don't know why fires were so strongly on my mind, but because they were, I was praying about them.

Unbeknownst to me, Mums was also awake and praying about fires. She too was thinking about them as she tried to get to sleep.

I awoke at 12:30 in the middle of the night, with a prickly fear that told me something was NOT right. I had woken out of a strange dream in which there was a strange noise, going on and on and on... and then I realized that the noise was not in my dream, but in real. In the house.

I sprang out of bed and ran to the boys' room to wake them up. By now I could hear that there was a high-pitched whining scream of something mechanical coming from somewhere downstairs. The guys grabbed their flashlights and we hurried down the stairs and opened the basement door. The noise (which was steadily increasing in intensity) was coming from somewhere down in the basement...

At that point we realized that our old central vacuum unit, located under the basement stairs, was roaring full-blast and sucking away powerfully against itself (if the hose isn't connected to the vacuum via one of the wall outlets, then the unit doesn't get any air). The sound was super loud and not a little scary, heard in the dark of night in the basement. Augs ran to the furnace room and found the applicable breaker, and as soon as he flipped it, the vacuum noise finally died away to silence.

Then we investigated what in the world was going on. A word about our central vacuum... it is very old, and very dead - has been ever since we first rented this home. I LOVE central vacuums when they work (saves so much effort!), but sadly, this one has seen better days. The main unit downstairs gets super hot and makes loud dying noises whenever you switch it on, and the hose upstairs, which is supposed to be vacuuming industriously, only sighs weakly and spits out dust. So... we don't use the thing at all.

But for some mysterious reason, it turned itself on last night. I have no idea how long it was going, but if I had not woken up and heard it when I did, we probably would have had a house fire. Which would not have been pretty, because the unit is in a small, closed room two floors below where we sleep; also, we use that room as a storage compartment for really good fire-starters like bags of fabric scraps and cardboard boxes of craft supplies. It could have been a very, very bad situation.

By the time we got to the vacuum, it was dangerously hot, so hot we couldn't touch the motor. It was also exuding smelly fumes. In the end, the boys disconnected the wires and actually brought the entire motor section upstairs where it could reside safely in their room as it cooled down. We went back to bed not a little shaken, trying not to think of what could so easily have happened.

Prayer - what an incredible gift. God answered our prayers last night, and as a result, I'm still sitting at our kitchen table, in our intact home, our lives undamaged. It could have all been gone last night - that fast. But it's here, we're here, and I'm grateful. God is SO GOOD!!

Wishing y'all a prayer-filled day and NO fires, :)


The Boy-Crazy Quiz for Single Girls: Part 2

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Question 2: Are Boys Your Number-One Favorite Topic of Conversation with Your Friends?

The “Nun”:

Her answer is “no” – boys are not her number one favorite topic of conversation with her friends or family.
She genuinely is not interested marriage, ever. She feels strongly that she is one of the few who are called to a celibate life, and is certain that God has not created her for the role of wife and mother to children. Hence, marriage is not on her mind (lifetime celibacy is a Scripturally viable option).

The only reason she would enjoy talking about guys is to help her friends and those she mentors. Though she does not desire marriage, she recognizes it as a God-given desire for most women and she wants to help them fulfill their calling.

The Independent Girl:

Her answer is also “no.” She is too busy with her full life and her big plans (that don’t include a man any time soon).

She may or may not enjoy talking about her friends’ guy-girl relationships, though she generally doesn’t feel any need for a guy herself. She may also be critical of those who she sees as caving in to idle talk about something over which they have no control (i.e. marriage and how to prepare). She feels that she has the greatest amount of control in her capable self when she can keep guys at a distance.

She sees relationship talk of any kind as a distraction and has little respect for girls or guys who discuss such things. Often, this type of girl has been hurt or abused in some way by a guy, has witnessed too many bad courtships/marriages, or has tired of uber-dependent boy-obsessed girls who seem desperate to get married as if all their immaturity will disappear with marriage.

Boys are certainly not one of her favorite conversation topics, though she would be interested in getting married and having children someday.

The Lazy “Boy-Crazy” Girl:

Yes, yes, yes! She loves to talk about guys! She wants a guy more than anything else and she feels empty without one. 

She is not above seducing guys by flirting or manipulating their hearts. And she struggles with contentment and security in her current relationship, because she is only satisfied when the relationship is moving toward romance… hence she initiates physical affection before a guy may be ready to commit, and uses physical touch as a way to get him past any doubts he feels. She is romantic and sensual before fully analyzing whether they are a good match. 

She is impatient to get to marriage, and manufactures in her mind greater suitability than actually exists. She talks so much about every passing look he gives her and every word he speaks that she actually begins to believe he likes her more than he does. She is prone to major emotional swings based on what he said or did (or didn’t say or didn’t do). 

She is too lazy or insecure to analyze either what is really happening between them or whether she is the right one for him. She wants a guy so badly, she doesn’t want to face the facts or work through an in-depth analysis. If someone questions his suitability, she acts wounded, and/or critiques the one who questions her choice of a guy.

She wants a husband in her own way and in her own timing: i.e. Now!

Marriage-Preparing Girl:

 [Note: if you’re already completely prepared for marriage, with the “prepping” or “learning” stage behind you, feel free to skip this section :)]

Getting back to the question, “Are boys your number one favorite topic of conversation with your friends?”

The Marriage-Preparing girl answers this question: No. And Yes.

No to this specific question, because it denotes an imbalance, in the use of the words “number one favorite topic.” And for most girls, random or light banter with their friends is rarely conducive to productive guy-related discussions.

But Yes to a balanced form of this question, rephrased: “Are boys one of your favorite topics of conversation with your family?”

Girls who are adequately and enthusiastically prepping for marriage know the importance of learning everything they can about guys – how they think, how they act, how they want to be shown respect, how to peacefully resolve conflict with them, what they value, and how to love them. Yes, even how to love them… if all of this came naturally, without hard work, there would be no need for Bible verses and “Love and Respect” seminars that teach married women how to respond to their men. Adequately prepped girls also recognize that marriage will not solve all their problems, and neither should it be the end-all goal of their lives.

Should girls talk ONLY about guys?

Definitely not! Girls who are adequately prepping for marriage have full, rich lives with a whole lot more to talk about than just guys. These girls delight in talking about marriage and how to be ready for a guy, but are mature enough to keep balance in their conversations and to not allow one topic to dominate.

And she strives to include at least one married person in her conversations about guys and marriage. We singles simply don’t have the same perspective about married life that those in the midst of it have. :)

Every girl who wants to get married should talk about guys in a healthy way.

This is how she learns. By a healthy way, I mean constructive, productive, God-honoring conversations that seek to promote growth and preparation, not ooey-gooey giggles over how handsome Joe Blow is. The preparing girl processes what to look for in a guy, why to look for those qualities, and what her dealbreakers are. And do you have one or more brothers? They are some of your best resources for learning how to positively relate to guys! 

Most of us recognize that making the right choice of a husband doesn’t come naturally… if it did, the happiness rate for Christian marriages would be far higher. 

Every marriage-preparing girl spends more time developing in herself the character strengths she’s looking for in a guy than she does talking about the guy himself.

Like qualities attract. So if a girl is looking for a guy who is spiritually-minded, or humble, or capable, or funny, she would do well to develop those qualities in her own character & personality.

She doesn’t lose her appetite for marriage when a guy doesn’t seem interested – she continues to show respect for all men, and seeks to understand men and her future role long before marriage.

She can watch (and enjoy) a film or book with an appropriate, God-honoring romance in it without feeling discouraged that she doesn’t have a guy or using it as fodder for daydreams about her own romance with a knight on a white horse. 

Her trust is totally in God.

She is confident, competent, and capable, AND she desires an equally strong and godly man for marriage. She is patient. The learning process about her own needs and about a guy’s needs is long and intense, and she enjoys every bit of it.
And somewhere in the process of learning about gender roles and facing personal gaps and seeking advice… somewhere in all that talking and practicing, she grows into the beautiful woman who will attract a quality guy.

Let’s be that woman.

Single Girls: Are You Boy-Crazy or Boy-Wise? (Part 1)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


How boy-crazy is too boy crazy (or is any boy craziness okay?) and what does being boy-wise mean?

Let’s start with the dictionary definition of boy-crazy: “being attracted to one guy after another in quick succession, sometimes with several love interests going on at the same time; unable to go more than a week in between boyfriends; desperate to find a replacement boyfriend because she feels incomplete and insecure without one.”

“Boy-crazy” is often used pejoratively to describe a girl who lacks substance, self-development, self-discipline or interest in anything meaningful, and who throws herself in an obvious way at any available guy.  Generally, a boy-crazy girl is excessively flirtatious.

Web example:  “Wait, she’s dating Sam now? I thought she was into Alex!”…”Yeah, she’s just boy crazy.”
That description does not apply to most of us, though, so I was surprised to the “boy-crazy” label as something girls want to know if they have.  Click here to see the quiz that caught my eye.

Before we get to “boy-wise”, let’s figure out how to correctly answer some of Paula Hendrick’s quiz questions about “boy-crazy” girls:

Question 1: In a room full of people, do you always know where “he” is?

Assuming “he” is a guy of interest to you, there are three options that could address this question:

1.     Miss Totally-Don’t-Need-Him

She acts like he’s invisible and she doesn’t care to reach out to him. She feels that she doesn’t need this guy, even though he is very attractive to most girls and clearly the best catch in the room because of his spiritual strength, heart, and character.

There’s another type of girl who also acts like great guys are invisible – this girl figures that if anything is going to happen with a guy she’s interested in, it will be up to God to work a miracle; therefore, she decides to look shy or aloof, as if she doesn’t even see him.

She may decide to push him out of her mind because that feels like the godly thing to do, and because her ministry and life and friends are so fulfilling right now. It is so much easier to ignore him. Consequently, the answer is no, she doesn’t “always know where ‘he’ is in a room full of people.”

No is a fine answer IF she is truly God-focused and marked by a consistent earnest prayer life for her future and not just taking the easy route of ignoring him or the independent route of cool indifference.  The primary drawback to this answer is that Scripture does not teach us to treat any guy like he is invisible.  Trust God, yes, but like Ruth and Esther, it may be necessary to take some action in showing kindness. Basic action might include smiling and reaching out to him to the same extent that she smiles and draws out others in the room, in contrast to purposely pretending he’s not there, giving him the impression that he’s not worth her time.

1.     Miss I’ve-Got-To-Win-Him-NOW

If she says or does something to direct his attention to her, or she feels like her eyes are on alert following his every move in her peripheral vision and looking over her shoulder from time to time when she is talking to someone else in an effort to keep track of where he is… and she knows she’ll be sorely disappointed if she doesn’t get a chance to be noticed by him, she is showing signs of being boy crazy.   

This kind of “yes” answer (yes to always knowing where he is in a room) is like having an “I’m desperate” sign on her back. Time to dial back to what is important, like talking encouragingly and meaningfully with the person she is standing with, since that’s the person God put in her direct path for a reason.  Let him see her genuine interactions with others, how honestly animated and caring she is, and if he should look her way some time in the evening, she should show him a sweet smile from a pure heart that trusts in God’s timing. A quality guy will see that she spends time with the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the popular and the fringe people.

3.      Miss I-Can’t-Help-Knowing-Where-He-Is-But-I-Use-That-Information-Wisely

This is the girl who answers “yes” to the question of knowing where “he” is, but it is a yes because she also knows where other people are; she has a natural gift or she has developed the gift of awareness, so that she knows where the quiet wallflower is who needs a little encouragement and she knows where the unsung servers are who deserve her gratitude and she knows where the alpha guys are and where the guy is who has caught her interest.  She should not feel guilty nor boy-crazy for knowing where he (and everyone else) is at all times. 

She needs to use this skill for good, and not strictly for self-gain. Given that she knows where he is at all times, she needs to guard her heart from thinking about him when she is talking with others, and steel herself from purposely looking his way since it is much easier to do when she knows right where he is.  If she catches him looking her way (and she will likely know), she needs to show him the same warm kindness that she shows to everyone else in the room.  She doesn’t swoon when he looks at her (though she may blush naturally) nor drop everything to maneuver herself around the room to stand in line next to him in the buffet or to sit next to him at a table.

The skill of awareness (which garnered her the natural “yes” to this question) is one that every girl should develop; as a good and attentive mother, she will have an intuitive sense of where her children are even in a large room, regardless of how quiet they are.  She has the ability to “read a room” – this is a gift from God for her to steward, and is a natural quality of every good counselor/listener.


Quiz Question: In a room full of people, do you always know where “he” is?

Cliff Note Answer:  

NO is a fine answer.
YES is a better answer IF it comes naturally or happens as a direct result of having practiced and mastered the art of awareness.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle Question 2. . .

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